Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams

No. 2119.]

Sir: Your dispatch of the 24th of December, No. 1502, has been received and laid before the President.

I thank you for the very interesting account you have given of the condition of panic which recent events, connected nearly or remotely with the disturbance in Ireland, have produced throughout the British realm. The ferocious and felonious character of the proceedings which attended the rescue at Manchester, and the attempt to destroy the prison at Clerken-well by explosion, are clearly perceived in the United States, and have had some influence in checking the course of public sentiment in regard to the great political question in which large masses of Irishmen at home and abroad are arrayed against the government of Great Britain. Notwithstanding this modifying influence, however, it is plainly to be observed that the sympathies of the people of the United States are every day more profoundly moved and more generally moved in behalf of Ireland. I have continually endeavored to impress upon the British government the importance of eliminating from the so-called Fenian excitement, as far as possible, certain legitimate causes of irritation and jealousy between the people of the United States and the people of Great Britain. I have had less success than I hoped, and less, I am sure, than [Page 143] would have been conducive to the interests of both countries. The pretense of the judge on the trial of John Warren, not disavowed by her Majesty’s government, that although a duly naturalized citizen of the United States, he still remains a subject of the Queen of Great Britain, amenable in that country to laws which are invalid there against native-born citizens of the United States, has awakened a general feeling of resentment and deeply wounded our pride of sovereignty. The people are appealing to this government throughout the whole country, from Portland to San Francisco and from St. Paul to Pensacola. This sense of injustice works harmoniously together with a sore remembrance that the British government in the late rebellion favored the overthrow of the United States by illegitimate processes, even at the cost of perpetuation of human slavery.

Perhaps after this popular protest shall have found earnest expression in both houses of Congress, British statesmen may perceive that a restoration of cordial and friendly relations and sympathies between the two countries is impossible while the causes of irritation to which I have referred are allowed to endure.

You are not charged to communicate this dispatch; but you need affect, no special reserve in regard to the facts herein considered.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Charles Francis Adams, Esq., &c., &c., &c.